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Police and citizens argue at committee meeting about oversight panel



Disputes over the need for a citizen board to monitor police activity in La Crosse County have spilled over into debates by a committee assigned to set up that board. 

At a public subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, study panel chair Joella Striebel criticized La Crosse assistant police chief Rob Abraham for his remarks made on WIZM criticizing the project as “one-sided.”  Striebel called it “baloney,” and an attempt to “smear” the work of her panel.

Abraham had spoken this week about a perceived lack of law enforcement representation on the proposed board.

During the committee meeting on-line, he denied charges that he was lying about the oversight project, saying it’s a “fatal crime” for a law officer to lie, because that could cost an officer his or her job.   

“Your career is ended when you lie, and I have fired many police officers for that such thing,” said Abraham. “I want to know what the lie is, and let’s talk about it.”

Abraham says he supports the concept of a citizen advisory board, but insists that it should have a representative of law enforcement on it.  

Striebel says the tentative oversight board is intended to be “absolutely a hundred per cent independent of law enforcement. That doesn’t mean we don’t seek input.”

The citizen board could be appointed by the county within the next few months.


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